By Walter Villa
READ MORE: Arizona players having a blast in the sand
Arizona made history late last month when it became the first state to sanction high school sand volleyball.
But Arizona has company in the sand volleyball movement.
In the Los Angeles area, an eight-team Girls’ Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League is set to start this spring. There will be three doubles teams competing per match, and the season will conclude in May.
Jon Aharoni, the coordinator of USA Beach Volleyball youth development, said he has been working closely with the California schools.
“I couldn’t be prouder to be involved,” he said. “It’s a big, fat step in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, on the college front, there are about 20 schools competing in the NCAA’s inaugural season of sand volleyball.
-- Florida State earned the first victory in NCAA sand volleyball history, sweeping host Alabama-Birmingham 5-0 on March -- The Seminoles have a 15-player roster and may be among the favorites to compete in the national championships April 27-29 in Gulf Shores, Ala.
-- The Southern Cal Trojans, who reached the Final Four indoors, made their sand debut on March 10. The Trojans are using indoor All-Americans Kendall Bateman and Natalie Hagglund on the sand as part of their 13-player roster.
-- Long Beach State, the alma mater of Olympic star Misty May-Treanor, will be led by Tara Roenicke, who represented Team USA at the World Beach Junior Championships in December. She finished fifth with partner Rebecca Strehlow.
-- Pepperdine has a 16-player roster, including one of the emerging stars of the sport, Summer Ross.